A Pattern Language on Bed Alcoves

A Pattern Language on Bed Alcoves

Regina Yunghans
Jan 26, 2009

Christopher Alexander's A Pattern Language is full of the practical and poetic when it comes to thinking out your home's design. One thought from the book with regard to Bed Alcoves in tiny homes...


Bedrooms make no sense.


Don't put single beds in empty rooms called bedrooms, but instead put individual bed alcoves off rooms with other nonsleeping functions, so the bed itself becomes a tiny private haven.

If you are building a very small house no more than 300 or 400 square feet- perhaps with the idea of adding to it gradually- this pattern plays an essential role. it will probably be best then to put the alcoves off the family room."

What do you make of this idea? We've certainly seen bed alcoves in studio apartments. But what if you were building a very small house? Might you consider a bed alcove in lieu of a bedroom? Thomas Jefferson did it (in his not-very-small house at Monticello):

"Jefferson saw alcove beds while he was in France, and incorporated them into Monticello. The other beds in the house are built into walls, but Jefferson's bed is open on both sides, connecting his Bed Room and his Cabinet." Photos: Thomas Jefferson Foundation/Robert C. Lautman

Top photo: Country Plans

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